Sunday, March 1, 2009

You Go Girl!

It was snowing like a son of a gun when I got to Balmoral Park outside of Chicago. It wasn't supposed to be that way. Scattered flurries was all the forecast was calling for Sunday. What I got was about 3 inches of snow, 19 degrees and a stiff blowing wind that drove right into the face of the horses as they came down the backstretch.

I walked around the Park a bit when I arrived. A very large facility built for another time, but with a lot of wood accents and a very comfortable physical plant. Below is a photo of the luxury boxes trackside that are available for rent on racing days. As you can see, each box is named for a Standardbred of old. They were very nicely appointed and certainly something I haven't seen before at a racetrack. While Thoroughbred tracks have their boxes above trackside, these were right on the finished line and into the first turn with a great view of the track and easy access to amenities.

I can't comment on the food as I did not partake while I was there, but the mutuel clerks were fine - though sparse - and plenty of automated tellers. I went and picked up I Am Woman's first career win photo from last week. The photographer asked if she was running again today and I told him "Absolutely and I hope to see you again later on!"

I decided to "Tweet" the trip. I have to admit, I don't fully understand this Twitter thing, only that appears to be a cross between Facebook status and mini-blogging. You can catch all the TBA Tweets over on the TBA home page, by the way. I Am Woman opened up at 4-5 and I mentioned on one of my Tweets that while she certainly had a shot, she shouldn't be 4-5! When I got to the hotel room and checked out the win photos, though, I had an explanation. Bad Boy's Toy broke her maiden odds-on in the first going away and I Am Woman got her by 2 1/4 last week so when the betting opened, the savvy out there jumped all over her.

I was feeling pretty good during warm ups (lead photo above of the filly warming up), I have to admit. The wind was blowing hard and the conditions for anyone any horse splitting the wind down the backside was going to be tough and I knew I Am Woman was not going to be on the engine.

The race shaped up well. Fractions were relatively swift considering the elements and Fox Valley Hooray led at every call into the stretch (:28/:57.2/1:28). When the half split went up I was feeling pretty good. Very tough splits into that headwind and our girl was moving up behind cover on the outside. When they hit the stretch, Brandon Simpson fanned her wide into the middle of the track and she picked up the remaining horses one by one until she crossed the line a length and a quarter in front. More remarkable, she had done it in a new lifetime mark for the mile at 1:58.2. I let the wind blow me over to the winner's circle where I met her and Brandon and snapped the photo.

Brandon drove her perfectly and said that she did it with ease. I'm very excited to know that she still has more in the tank. Kudos go out to Ed O'Connor and Tom Janes of VIP Stables, managing partner of I Am Woman, for the foresight to send her out to Chicago for seasoning. She's needed this learning experience and probably would have been eaten alive at the Meadowlands until she matured. She's learning her craft and getting stronger as time goes on. She'll get back in next week and while she has won through the NW2 condition, she still qualifies under the "or $5000" condition, so we may see her back against these next week as well. Maybe she'll make it 3 for 3?

Now if I could only find a Standardberd trainer that is spending the summer at Running Aces...


rather rapid said...


Jack said...

Wow 2 for 2 for I am Women and a nice race from Fizzy for 2nd all in a little more than a week.

As for Twitter I didn't get it either and after opening an account and just not seeing the use I canceled. Better things to do.

Keep it going!

David M. Miller said...

Wow! Congrats to all of the connections -- I am guessing you guys are glad she didn't meet her reserve at the sale now.